A systems approach to tackle immune complexity

A systems approach to tackle immune complexity

Details of project

This project aims to simplify our understanding of the adaptive immune response of T and B lymphocytes. Lymphocytes respond with a tightly controlled proliferative burst upon antigen stimulation that is controlled by (i) division rate, (ii) division burst size, (iii) survival of the cells and their differentiation.

Each of these features is influenced by a large number of gene products, and even small changes can synergise to significantly modify the response magnitude. Taking an interdisciplinary ‘whole of system’ approach this project will investigate how cell fate is modulated by changes in genes individually and in combination.

The goal of these studies is to understand how small changes in these processes may synergise to cause diseases such as autoimmunity or lymphoma. The successful applicant will learn molecular, cellular and quantitative biological methods.

Further reading : Marchingo et al, Science 2014, Duffy et al, Science 2012

About our research group 

The Hodgkin lab studies the immune system with the goal of building computer models that can be used to improve vaccine development and treatments for autoimmunity and cancer. Experimental work to inform this effort focuses on the control of immune cell fates such as death, division and differentiation.

Typical experiments in the lab use cellular division tracking techniques and flow cytometry to measure the effect of changing conditions such as cytokines, altered genetic makeup, or the impact of pharmacological agents on individual cells and how they vary in a population.  In the lab experiment- and computer- skilled members work together to extract the maximum value from such data. 

Researchers:

Susanne Heinzel profile
Dr
Susanne
Heinzel
Immunology division

Project Type:

Researchers looking at mathematical equations

Our researchers have defined for the first time how the size of the immune response is controlled during infection, or in response to vaccination.